The Story of Freda Manahi,
I was born in Christchurch, into a blended family of 10 children, I was number 11. We came up to Auckland when I was 5. My Dad was a provider and my Mum was a homemaker. My world was complete and secure. I felt loved and adored.
I knew who I was, where I belonged, and my family was close. I was the youngest of 11 children – the baby girl.
When I got hurt, Mum would treat me with her knowledge of natural Maori medicine, and taught me about herbal remedies and poultices from plant leaves -she was the one I always ran to in any trouble.
I never ever heard any arguing or violence between my parents. I remember the aroma of her home cooked meals and baking when I came home from school.
My Mum was a fantastic cook and she would do a lot of volunteer work, our home was an open home and we often had people through that Mum and Dad were helping.
Mum got sick with Cancer. I was 9 or 10 years old when I noticed the changes to her energy and body.
I saw her change physically from being a vibrant, strong, capable woman to nothing more than skin and bone, she was so frail, it hurt her to hold me. I was always told to go out of her room, not allowed to ask what was happening or allowed to hug her. It felt like she was sick for a long time before she died.
When Mum died, my heart broke. Our whole family felt lost and confused.
Everyone was afraid. Dad was a worker; he didn’t know what to do. Mum was the heart of our home and without her we felt like we couldn’t breathe. I didn’t understand and put up walls to protect myself. I felt alone and afraid. I had no one to talk to about what I was feeling.
Me and my older sister stuck together cause the adults weren’t talking with us. Dad’s heart was broken when Mum died. He did not know how to love us like she did, let alone raise 5 girls, instead he worked long hours to provide for us and drank. I always loved and respected my Dad for remaining on his own for the next 20 years before he died.
I was l